Little Ship, Big Ocean
In what many may see as an ironic accident, a Japanese submarine, JDS Asashio (SS 589 / TSS 3601), reportedly brushed against a Panamanian-flagged 4,000 ton merchant, the M/V Spring Auster, while surfacing off the southern coast of Kyushu earlier today (tomorrow on the other side of the dateline). From the AP report:
None of its crew of 16 Philippine nationals and a South Korean was hurt, but the extent of the damage was not immediately known, he said.Interestingly, GlobalSecurity.org lists the Asashio as a training submarine; it's apparently the newest of the Harushio-class boats. While it's hard to tell exactly what happened from this report, it looks to me like they came to PD underneath the merchant in preparation for surfacing. This would be a different scenario than when USS Greeneville (SSN 772) sank the Japanese fishing vessel Ehime Maru -- they did an emergency blow into the surface ship, which packs a much bigger wallop. Luckily for all involved, a controlled ascent to PD involves much lower forces in the event of a collision.
No injuries were reported among the 75 crew on the submarine Asashio. It apparently hit the ship's hull while surfacing, and the top part of the submarine's aft fin had been dented by the impact, the defense spokesman said.
The cause of the accident was not immediately known. The submarine had re-submerged and was expected to enter a nearby defense port for inspection, he said.
Coast Guard officials made radio contact with the Spring Auster, whose crew reported feeling a small impact. They maintained course because no other vessel was in sight, Nagasaki said.